Friday, March 4, 2005

Overview of federal paper trail legislation

Elizabeth Schneider at has written an excellent overview of federal legislation recently introduced in Congress to require a voter verified paper record of digital ballots. Her article provides links to the legislation, as well as some context for partisan and substantive differences in how members of Congress are approaching voting technology reform in the new session.

For further analysis of these bills, see Robert Kibrick's legislation summary published yesterday on Verified Voting's web site.

Excerpt from the Electionline analysis:


With the start of the 109th Congress, members from both sides of the aisle are set to tackle election reform, ranging from small initiatives to a complete overhaul of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Most popular are proposals requiring voter-verifiable paper audit trails.  

Both parties emphasize that their approach towards election reform is non-partisan. But the tone of some of the bills introduced - and the sponsors themselves - would indicate otherwise. And while many seek the same overall goal of reform, Republicans and Democrats have vastly different methods to achieve that goal.   

The most popular bills are variations on paper-trail bills initiated in state legislatures this year and last. Since Congress convened in January, Republicans and Democrats introduced a total of six bills that would require electronic voting machines to generate a record of an individuals’ vote that could be verified by the voter.  

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, introduced a bill (H.R.278) which calls for a paper record of votes and fellow Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada did the same in a companion bill (S.330). 

Democratic Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey (H.R. 550), Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut (S.17), Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York (S.450) and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan (H.R.533), all introduced legislation which focuses all or in part on paper trails.  

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