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National Issues Praises Bill to Establish Verifiable Elections Nationwide PDF  | Print |  Email
June 17, 2009 praised U.S. Representative Rush Holt's introduction today of HR 2894, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009.  Cosponsored by 75 House members, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act would require voter-marked paper ballots in all federal elections. The bill would authorize funding for states to purchase new voting equipment, require hand-counted audits of electronic vote tallies, and reform the process of testing voting equipment.

"This bill is so long overdue.  It provides a basic element of democracy: a verifiable ballot for every voter," said Warren Stewart, Legislative Policy Director for “And it does its job in the most reliable way, with paper ballots marked by the voters. That is a cost-effective technology that a majority of Americans already use; HR 2894 simply makes it our nationwide system,” Stewart said.

In 2008, almost 60 percent of the nation's voters cast their votes on paper ballots that were read by electronic scanning devices. In the last several years, voter-marked paper ballots have become the most popular means of providing a paper record of each vote. “Paper trail” printers attached to voting machines are an alternative method of providing a paper record, but have reliability problems, such as printer jams. They are cumbersome to recount, raise privacy concerns because they store all votes on a continuous roll, and go unchecked by significant numbers of voters.
Three-fourths of the states have adopted voting systems that provide some form of voter-verifiable paper record, but a significant number still use electronic voting machines that offer no voter-verifiable backup. In at least ten states in the 2010  elections, most or all of the votes will be cast on paperless electronic voting systems. These include Indiana, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as  Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas. Following reapportionment after the 2010  election, the paperless states could comprise more than 130 electoral votes in the 2012 Presidential election.

“Millions of votes in America remain unverifiable, and that is not acceptable, ” said Pamela Smith, president of  Leading computer scientists have called for paper records for six years. A drumbeat of security reviews from government, academic, and private sector scientists, along with problems caused by paperless machines in recent elections, have reinforced the case against unverifiable electronic voting machines.

While serving in the Senate, President Obama cosponsored legislation that contained  provisions similar to those of the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, and the President spoke on the campaign trail of the need for voter-verifiable paper records. “The President understands the importance of  this issue,” Stewart said. “It's a matter of fitting it into the nation's agenda, and now is the time to do it, while there is time for states to switch voting systems in time for 2010,” he said.
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