Friday, June 25, 2004

E-voting skeptics rally for paper

Federal Computer Week, June 25, 2004

Voter verified paper trail advocates held a rally this week in Washington, DC to urge Congress to move Rep. Rush Holt's bill, HR 2239, and bring it to the floor. HR 2239 would require electronic voting machines to produce a voter verified paper trail by November 2004.

Rep. Holt hosted the rally, which was attended by hundreds of people. One of the most poignant speakers was Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was a key leader in the civil rights movement and today is an ardent supporter of the paper trail. Lewis declared at the rally that he was not about to let his vote be taken away by a machine after laying his body on the line for the right to vote.

Excerpts from the FCW article:

Joined by other legislators and representatives from several activist groups including Common Cause, Rock The Vote and Democracy For America, Holt urged passage of his Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act. Despite having attracted more than 140 co-sponsors, the bill remains locked up in the House Administration Committee, chaired by Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio.).

"I don't doubt that if this [legislation] came out to see the light of day, and members of Congress heard the concern and the outrage [that people have], this legislation would move and it would become law," Holt said, flanked by dozens of supporters holding signs urging ballot verification.


Time is running out for this year, Holt said. "Unless we act very soon, we will not have in place for this fall's election the degree of trust that every voter deserves."

Holt did not identify Ney by name as the reason the bill remains in committee, but Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) did.

Ney, she pointed out, led the effort to rename French fries "Freedom fries" at the Capitol, which she considered petty compared to the integrity of the election process.

"He has the power to move this forward," she said.

Ney was one of the original sponsors of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which Holt's legislation would amend. In April, he and the three other principal authors of the act sent a letter to members of Congress to oppose Holt's bill.

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