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Take Action to Counter Their Unapologetically Deceptive, Anti-Democracy Efforts to Misinform Nancy Pelosi!
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2007 10:49am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...

UPDATE: The BRAD BLOG has heard from sources, though we've not been able to get confirmation from Congress, that HR 811 may come up for a vote on the floor as early as tomorrow (Thursday). Please read below and take action!

People for the American Way (PFAW) --- previously the "good guys" in many a fight for your democracy --- continues their dishonest and misleading campaign to support Rep. Rush Holt's dangerous Election Reform Bill (HR 811).

The bill, as written --- despite our having helped to draft it prior to its introduction --- currently fails on a number of levels. Most notably, in its institutionalization of the use of disenfranchising Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines for all of America. Such machines use secret, unverifiable, invisible ballots to count your vote.

As The BRAD BLOG has shown many times previously, PFAW --- by their own multiple written and spoken admissions --- PFAW actually prefers the use of DRE touch-screen voting systems over paper based systems, and thus has become the number one supporter of the Holt bill. Worse, they are joining (perhaps even leading) Holt's office in misleading America about what the bill does and doesn't do.

As HR 811 comes towards the U.S. House floor for a vote, PFAW is ramping up their efforts by sending out emails to members requesting they call Nancy Pelosi's office at (202) 225-4965.

We suggest you do the same. But demand that Pelosi amend the bill to include a ban on DRE voting systems or otherwise vote against the bill.

Then send this item to everyone you know!

Among the dishonest information propagated by PFAW during their pro-Holt campaign: The claim that a DRE ban could not pass in a Democratic-controlled Congress, despite such a ban passing recently passing in the state of Florida with a Republican House and Senate. PFAW has made the claim repeatedly and convinced other Election Integrity organizations of its validity, but has refused to offer a single name of a single Congress member who now supports Holt's bill, but who would vote against it if it included a ban on dangerous DRE voting systems.

Among the knowingly dishonest, Frank Luntz-like deceptions that PFAW is now shamefully using in their continuing disinfo campaign (online version here, excerpts posted below from their email sent yesterday) contain the following misleading and/or incorrect claims about provisions in the Holt bill:

  • It would avoid the problem that occurred last November in Sarasota when 18,000 votes were lost on touch-screen DRE systems. It wouldn't. And they know that.
  • It would require that "ALL voting machines must produce a paper ballot." It doesn't. And they know that.
  • It would require that "ALL voting machine vendors MUST make the machines' software available for inspection." It does. But only for so-called "experts," only after a problem is discovered in an election, and only if those "experts" sign non-disclosure agreements. Despite PFAW's claim that the bill will allow for "No Secret Source Code," the bill will continue to allow for secret source code in every American election.

PFAW should be ashamed of themselves. You can email PFAW at PFAW@PFAW.org or call them with your complaints at: 202-467-4999 or 800-326-7329.

Excerpts from their deceptive email, sent yesterday, follow below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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As a New Effort is Mounted by Election Integrity Advocates to Contact Congress Members Concerning the Drive to Ban DRE Touch-Screen Voting Systems Once and For All...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2007 10:22am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...

Charging that Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform bill (HR 811) "does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting," Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his withdrawal of support for the controversial legislation last Friday.

In an interview on the Peter B. Collins show, the Democratic presidential candidate confirmed earlier reports that he intended to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill in favor of requiring paper ballots for American elections. HR 811, as currently written, fails to ban dangerous electronic touch-screen (DRE) voting systems.

Last week, Election Integrity advocates announced a new effort to contact Congress members in order to learn their position on the Holt bill, and whether or not they would support such a ban. They are asking for help from the public in contacting all members of the U.S. House. (More details on the effort, and how you can help, below.)

"I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it," Kucinich told host Peter B. Collins during a short interview late Friday.

Here's the short audio of the exchange concerning the Holt Bill [less than 2 mins]:

Here's the transcript of the exchange:

PETER B. COLLINS: You have recently removed yourself as a co-sponsor of 811, am I correct?

KUCINICH: I have. Rush Holt's a fine person and I really enjoy serving with him. But I have to say, the bill does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting, and to make sure that we protect ourselves from the kind of manipulation of an election that can occur with the insufficient controls on software and hardware in this era of electronic voting.

That's why I've advocated paper ballots in all federal elections. That's the paper trail. That's that old time religion in politics where at least you had a chance for a fair count. Every American deserves to know that his or her vote counts and is going to be counted.

And you may remember that in the last election, when it came to the Electoral College, I was one of the few members who challenged the election in the Electoral College and voted against certification of the election based on what happened in Ohio. As did, by the way, Senator [Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], she was one of the leaders on that.

PBC: Indeed, yes...

KUCINICH: And so, we have to stand up and be counted. I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it.

Kucinich had originally announced his intention to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill last month when asked about it by Election Integrity advocates during a phone appearance at DemocracyFest in New Hampshire. The Ohio Congressman's name is still listed as a co-sponsor, along with 215 others, on the Library of Congress website, but The BRAD BLOG has been told by a source familiar with the LOC's Thomas database that co-sponsorship lists on that site are no longer updated after bills have been introduced and then voted out of committee...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Peter B. Collins Show Hosts Extremely Lively Discussion on Pros and Cons of Controversial House Bill's Allowance for Use of Dangerous DRE Touch-Screen Voting Systems
ALSO: CA SoS Debra Bowen Refuses to Support HR 811, Concerned About Putting 'Paper Trails Into Statute'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2007 6:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville after Escaping Atlanta...

"It's been a thriller," said the eponymous host of the Peter B. Collins Show as Friday's live radio debate wrapped up between myself and attorney Lawrence D. Norden, Chair of the NYU Brennan Center for Justice's Task Force on Voting System Security.

Norden made, in our spirited debate, what I believe to be some stunning admissions.

Complete "must listen" audio of the debate is available at the end of this article...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2007 9:32pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...It's not easy keeping up from the road. But we're doing our best....

Leahy on Meet the Press today (via TPM, who has more, video available at C&L)...

RUSSERT: Are you prepared to hold the Bush White House, the vice president, the attorney general and his office under contempt of Congress?

LEAHY: That is something that the whole Congress has to vote on. In our case, in the Senate, we'd have to vote on it; in the House, they would have to vote on it. I can't...

RUSSERT: Would you go that far?

LEAHY: If they don't cooperate, yes, I'd go that far. I mean, this is very important to the American people.

Leahy's comments synch up with what Conyer's telegraphed a week during a House Judiciary hearing when he asked outgoing Dep. AG Paul McNulty if the DoJ would work with Congress should the White House ignore their subpoenas and it became necessary to issue criminal contempt charges. (For the record, McNulty punted in response, stating he's recused himself from the issue, will likely be gone by then, since he's already resigned, and otherwise, couldn't speak for the DoJ on the matter.)

Washington Post noticed Leahy's comments as well, and offers this road map to what comes next in their Monday edition...

The next step is for the congressional committee chairman to rule on the validity of the privilege claims. If the claims are deemed invalid, the committee can repeat the directive to comply. If the president continues to refuse, the committee can find the president in criminal contempt, and the issue would go to the full Senate or House. If a majority in either chamber approves the criminal citation, the matter is referred to a U.S. attorney with a recommendation to issue an indictment.

"Referred to a U.S. attorney." See what a frickin' mess we're looking at here? The USA in question would be Jeffrey A. Taylor of the District of Columbia. Unless he gets fired any time soon. Don't know much about Taylor, with no time to dig for now. So feel free to fill us in with any thoughts on him in comments.

As the Summer of Accountability continues...

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By Alan Breslauer on 6/25/2007 2:34pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

While BRAD BLOG has extensively covered the "Vote Caging" issue over the past two years, including Brad's post from the road today, the file would not be complete without this video clip of John Conyers (D-MI) questioning Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing last week. For more details on McNulty's testimony as well as an interesting exchange between Conyers and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) at the end of the clip, see Margie Burns's June 21 BRAD BLOG post.

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'I always have acted with honesty and integrity,' Says Corrupt Florida Congressman, Alleged Vote-Rigging Conspirator...
UPDATE: Feeney Creates Own Blog, Welcomes Your Comments!
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2007 6:44pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from somewhere in Oklahoma (Shawnee...I think)

Need to keep moving, but saw this, and had to stop long enough to let you know about it. Just in case you wanted to send a little something...

WASHINGTON --- U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney established a legal defense fund this week to defray costs relating to an ongoing federal inquiry into his ties with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Department of Justice lawyers and our lawyers have been speaking. We will cooperate," said the Oviedo Republican, who denied Friday that he is the target of a federal probe.

When asked why he established the fund, Feeney said he was being cautious and that it would be used to "demonstrate conclusively that I always have acted with honesty and integrity."

Heheh...Irony becomes him.

If you're unfamiliar with the background for this story, a) Welcome to The BRAD BLOG!, b) See the Orlando Sentinel's article and c) See a few of the stories listed at the bottom of the page at: http://www.Bradblog.com/ClintCurtis for more details.

UPDATE 6/23/07: After years of sniffing at "blogs", Feeney has opened his own. And he welcomes your comments! Please give him our best regards, and be sure to give his readers a link to our Clint Curtis / Tom Feeney Special Coverage page!

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Confusion over Paper Ballots
By Bob Bancroft on 6/22/2007 4:03pm PT  

Guest blogged by Bob Bancroft

On today's Morning Edition , NPR’s Pam Fessler reports the growing frustration of election officials around the country. Those interviewed express a general consensus that fussing over the right to vote is simply not worth all the headaches. Elaine Ludwig, Chief Clerk of Lebanon County, PA, says she’s “had enough,” threatening that she and many others will quit if any election reform is passed into law.

That’s disturbing.

But there is a more basic problem in NPR’s reporting on the issue: a deep misunderstanding of what is being debated, and why.

Morning Edition host Renée Montagne introduces the segment (about “Toys and Voting Machines,” no kidding) by describing Rep. Rush Holt's H.R.811 as “legislation to require paper ballots for all voting equipment.” Oh, Renée, if only it were so simple! Sadly, that legislation, the bill that guarantees a paper ballot in every state, does not exist.

Rep. Holt told NPR, “States must provide, they owe it to the voters to provide, voting systems that are transparent and reliable and accessible and verifiable.”

Well said, sir. Yet the current incarnation of Rep. Holt’s bill falls short. In place of transparency, we are given mandatory non-disclosure agreements. In place of verifiable voting, we are given paper printouts.

Printouts, Renée, not ballots...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Hearing Clearly Reveals Continuing Lack of Interest in the Vote Caging Issue at DOJ
But McNulty Testimony Throws Little Light on DOJ Hirings and Firings
By Margie Burns on 6/21/2007 7:38pm PT  

Guest blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty returned to testify before Congress one more time today, but without shedding much new light on the much-criticized firings and hirings, alleged to be politically motivated, in the Department of Justice.

The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the House Judiciary Committee, in another attempt to extract some truth about the DOJ personnel matter, held a hearing with McNulty as the sole witness. Under polite, soft-spoken but excruciatingly poignant questioning by Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI), McNulty did clarify one thing: indeed it does seem that his part of the DOJ has done very little about “caging.”

Caging, as Rep. Cannon (R-UT) helpfully pointed out, “is a term of art in mailhouses” – it refers to the place where letters go when they have no address, all batched up in a separate room.

As Conyers gently reminded the audience, “caging” in the context of elections “is not an issue of the mail at all.” Voter caging, in the context of elections, means blocking voters out – choosing whole lists of voters whose vote will be challenged, chosen by whom and the criteria for challenge enunciated by whom, under this administration, still not fully explained.

Actually, not explained at all. Though it wasn't for Conyers' lack of trying to get information from McNulty about it...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Former Rove Aide Susan Ralston Testified to Heavy Use of Email Accounts Provided by Republican National Committee
So Where Are The RNC-DOJ-WH-OVP Emails About Chandra Levy? Anthrax Letters? Clint Curtis?
By Margie Burns on 6/19/2007 10:56am PT  

Guest Blogged by The BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns

Those separate email accounts – email accounts held by people working in the White House and the Office of the Vice President, often with security clearances, but not “.gov” accounts – now threaten to become bigger news. Those alternate accounts, as we know now from work done by the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the new report from the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, both potentially and actually allowed WH and DOJ and OVP personnel to communicate ‘off the books’ up to a point. While theoretically still bound by the rules for preserving presidential records (see below) the 88 government officials with email accounts provided by the Republican National Committee could move with electronic fluidity from their official to their partisan political duties, and back again, with remarkably little scrutiny for the entire four years of Bush’s first term.

So any correspondence about --- for example --- Chandra Levy and Gary Condit, 9/11 and Iraq, anthrax mailings and Judith Miller, will remain lost from public view until the advanced technology of un-deleting can sweep it up from the bottom of whatever files it has been submerged in to date.

Tabling for now such topics as political motivation in the firing and hiring of US Attorneys, the immediate question is, exactly how EARLY did administration personnel start using these alternate email accounts?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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The Pro-HR811 Crowd Unleash All Manner of Personal Attacks Against Those Who Dare Oppose Thier Beloved Legislation as Written...
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2007 2:00pm PT  

We've alluded to it before, and even in this article we'll not adequately reveal the depths to which some in the Election Integrity community have plumbed, but the Pro-HR811 folks are in full-court PR press mode of late in order to see Rush Holt's Election Reform bill passed in the U.S. House. By hook or by crook.

Despite claims passed on by supporters that the bill would come up for a full House vote in the past week or two, no such vote came to pass, although one could be scheduled at any time now that the bill has left committee. Inquiries seeking information on an official date for such a floor vote, sent by The BRAD BLOG to Holt's once-responsive legislative aide working on the legislation, have not been answered.

We too would like to see some version of the bill passed. But as it currently stands there are too many enormous flaws in the bill to earn our support, as we've discussed on these pages in great detail. (Here's one recent example.) As we've described, one of our greatest concerns is the bill's institutionalization of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines for use in American democracy. Such systems, even with the so-called "Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) mandated by the bill --- and perhaps especially with such a mandate --- are antithetical to democracy, as they allow no way for voters to ever verify their invisible electronic ballots as accurate before or after the votes are cast and counted. The VVPATs themselves, as mandated by Holt, are also another problem which may make elections easier to steal, rather than harder. But we'll go into more detail on that at a later date.

There are a host of other reasons why DREs should never be used. Most supporters of Holt's bill --- except for People for the American Way (PFAW), which actually prefers such machines to paper-based systems --- recognize that. Nonethless, they've allowed PFAW and Holt's office to snow them into believing that a DRE ban could not pass in a Democratic Congress, while apparently the Republican dominated House and Senate in Florida, of all places, were able to ban such machines once and for all. Go figure.

As we described recently, it seems that none of the folks who've bought into the "DRE ban can't pass Congress" line seem to have bothered to ask for any evidence of the premise before passing it on to others. Or if they have, they've yet to share the evidence with the public, so that we might lobby those Congress Members who currently support the Holt bill, but would vote against it if it included a ban on DREs, so that the public might either educate them or otherwise discover and expose their reasons for supporting such dangerous machines in our democracy.

Anyway, the propaganda campaign from the pro-Holters is in full swing right now both behind and in front of the scenes as they place editorials and work the back-channel email lists. In the process --- and with the at least passive approval of Holt's office --- they seem hell-bent on destroying the character of any and all who they perceive as being in their way. Yours truly is no exception, of course, as we've been ruthlessly savaged by many of the "loudest" folks who want to see Holt passed --- even if they need to make stuff up about it and/or otherwise mislead Americans and Congress Members about what the bill actually does and doesn't do.

By way of example, see the email posted in full below, as written by NCVoter.net's Joyce McCloy, an ardent pro-Holter and forwarded by another, Kathy Dopp of UtahCountVotes.org. It was posted and then circulated to several large Election Integrity email lists. We can't help but highlight one of the grafs which refers to us directly, if only for the irony --- sure to be lost on the authors --- of our highlighting the charge here in the first place...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Conyers Closes in on Karl and his Rove-bots...
By Greg Palast on 6/17/2007 7:52pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast

Boo-hoo! I made Tim Griffin cry.

He cried. Then he lied.

You remember Tim. Karl Rove's right hand (right claw?) man. The GOP's ragin' cagin' man.

Griffin is the Rove-bot exposed by our BBC Newsnight investigations team as the man who gathered and sent out the infamous 'caging' lists to Republican state chairmen during the 2004 election.

Caging lists, BBC discovered, were used secretly as a basis to challenge the right to vote of thousands of citizens - including the homeless, students and soldiers sent overseas. The day after BBC broadcast that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, sought our evidence on Griffin, Tim resigned his post as US Attorney for Arkansas. That job was a little gift from Karl Rove who made room for his man Griffin by demanding the firing of US prosecutor Bud Cummins.

Last week, our cameras captured Griffin, all teary-eyed, in his humiliating kiss-off speech delivered in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas where he moaned that, "public service isn't worth it."

True. In the old Jim Crow days in Arkansas, you could get yourself elected by blocking African-Americans. (The voters his caging game targeted are - quelle surprise! - disproportionately Black citizens.)

But today, Griffin can't even get an unemployment check. When he resigned two weeks ago following our broadcast, the cover story was that the voter persecutor-turned-prosecutor had resigned to work for Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson. But when Thompson's staff was asked by a reporter why they would hire the 'cagin' man,' suddenly, the 'Law and Order' star decided associating with Griffin might take the shine off Thompson's badge, even if it is from the props department.

Griffin, instead of saying that public service "isn't worth it," should have said, "Crime doesn't pay." Because, according to experts such as law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 'caging,' when used to target Black voters' rights, is a go-to-prison crime.

By resigning, Tim may not avoid the hard questions about caging - or the hard time that might result. When I passed the first set of documents to Conyers (a real film noir moment, in a New York hotel room near midnight), the soft-spoken Congressman said that, resignation or not, "We aren't done with Mr. Griffin yet..."

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Refers to GOP Operative, Mark 'Thor' Hearne, by Name as Source of 'Information'
Hearne and His Disinfo Operatives Need to be Subpeonaed Immediately...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 8:05am PT  


This is exactly why Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and his "voter fraud" scamming buddies need to be called in, under oath --- with subpoenas if necessary --- before a Congressional committee. And pronto. The garbage they've been circulating for years is still taken "as gospel" by the Bush Dead Enders.

Here's one of them. Peter Kirsanow, appointed by Bush in 2001 to the US Commission on Civil Rights. Laura McGann has more details on this clown. But at left is the video of this clown's Senate testimony from last Thursday --- even after all of this stuff has been completely discredited --- repeating the same garbage, known well enough for him to repeat it a mile-a-minute, in a hearing concerning intimidation at the polls.

And yes, you read that right. This guy is on the US Commission on Civil Rights. The entire system has been compromised. It's time to haul in the ACVR bunch and get them on the record, to find out exactly "whodunnit." For example, the ACVR had nearly a million dollars to operate their "non-partisan" tax-exempt outfit in order to generate propaganda for chumps like Kirsanow to puke up in official hearings. That was the plan --- even while they lied about it on their tax forms --- and it's still working like a charm.

Before he became a "non-partisan" "voting rights" advocate, Hearne was the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, Inc. He was recognized --- by name --- by Karl Rove when he spoke at a Republic National Lawyers Association event in April of 2006, thanking them for their "work on clean elections" in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

So where did Thor get his million dollars for his now shut down and discredited organization? We still don't know, because nobody has ever asked them under oath.

Anybody in the House or Senate Judiciary Committees paying attention here and feel like finding out?

...CONTACT...
House Judiciary Committee
Senate Judiciary Committee

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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If Voters Don't Notice Incorrect Votes on The Review Screen in Front of Their Face, Why Would They Notice it on a So-Called 'Paper Trail' Printed Afterward?
By John Gideon on 6/13/2007 9:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

A new study supports the contentions of Election Integrity advocates who oppose Rush Holt's election reform bill on the basis that it allows for the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting systems. Supporters of the bill claim that the bills mandate to require so-called "Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) printers on such DRE systems mitigate the concerns about the machines notorious inaccuracy and proven tamperability. The new study strongly indicates otherwise.

In her recently released doctoral thesis, “The Usability of Electronic Voting Machines and How Votes Can Be Changed Without Detection” [PDF], Rice University researcher and Doctoral candidate Sarah P. Everett reveals that review screens, presented to voters at the end of the voting process on DRE voting machines, fail to be effective.

Of 66 participants from the general Houston population, with a median age of 45 and an even distribution of educational levels only 32% of the voters noticed that malicious changes had been made to their review screens during mock election testing.

A further test was accomplished with 101 participants, with an even gender split (51 males, 50 females), a median age of 40, with most having either some college education or holding a degree. Of those, only 37% of the participants noticed that vote flipping had occurred on their review screens during mock election testing.

Also shocking is that of those 101 participants 6% walked away from the voting machine without pushing the button to cast their ballot. Instead, they just left the voting process at the final review screen. Thus, had this been a real election, a full 6% of the voters would not have had their ballots counted at all.

So when only about one-third of the voters actually review their ballot on the ballot review screen and notice problems why would anyone think that adding a "Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail" printer to a DRE will solve any problem? Rather than adding useless and expensive printers; why not just get rid of these machines all together?

In fact, Ms. Everett states, when it comes the use of DRE voting systems [emphasis added]...

[A]s the situation currently stands, voters cannot be depended upon to check the validity of their vote. Many security experts and election reform groups are calling for VVPATs to be required on all DREs and as of the 2006 elections, nearly half of the states mandated that their DREs have paper trails (electionline.org, 2006). However, these studies show that solutions to DRE security problems that require voter verification of their ballots may not solve vote-flipping problems. Users are not even checking their ballots on the review screen that is presented directly in front of them.
...
The findings here suggest that it is highly unlikely that voters will detect changes to their ballots on the VVPAT that prints out on a roll of paper next to the machine if they are not even noticing them on a screen presented directly in front of them.

===

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call you members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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An Anaylsis by a Leading Election Integrity Advocate Charges That Where Rep. Rush Holt's House Bill on Election Reform Poses Dangers to Democracy, A New Bill Introduced in the Senate is Even Far Worse...
By Ellen Theisen on 6/12/2007 1:14pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, Co-Director of VotersUnite.Org

Yesterday I discussed the dangers presented by Rush Holt's Election Reform bill, HR 811, now pending a floor vote in the House. I detailed seven points which, taken as a whole, lead me to believe that the bill does more harm than good.

Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill S. 1487, “The Ballot Integrity Act of 2007,” was introduced on May 24, 2007. Some were expecting it to be a companion to, and improvement on, Holt’s bill, H.R. 811. Far from an improvement, S. 1487 introduces surprising — and disturbing — new provisions.

It includes many of the most troubling points of the Holt bill, but goes even farther in the wrong direction away from what is needed for Electoral Integrity in America, presenting instead a grave danger to our democracy.

The bill systematically dismantles government by the people, and it provides a legal excuse for expanding the disenfranchisement of “distinct communities” such as racial minorities.

(The following excerpt discusses only how S. 1487 functions like a Voting Rights Act in reverse. I've posted a more complete analysis of the bill at VotersUnite.org.)

Historically, racial minorities have been prevented from voting by violence, poll taxes, highly subjective literacy tests, police dogs, and so on. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was landmark legislation to remove such obstacles and clear the path for all voters to have a voice in elections.

A shameful provision in S. 1487 functions as a Voting Rights Act in reverse. “They” (historically disenfranchised communities) would get to vote, but the bill allows for the future massive loss of “their” voices through machine malfunction or other means, while limiting the vote loss that would be acceptable in jurisdictions where “they” aren’t as predominant....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/11/2007 10:38pm PT  

In today's "Daily Voting News" John Gideon mentions the "banter back and forth between members of the Election Integrity community" over Rush Holt's controversial HR 811 Election Reform bill. "Banter" is a very nice way, for the very polite Mr. Gideon, to describe it. I'd call it just short of a shooting war.

In any case, while debate over such sweeping attempts at reforming our entire electoral system are essential, the continuing efforts by the pro-Holt folks to lobby in favor of their bill by offering deceptive and misleading information about it are certainly not useful to anyone. The bill itself is misleading by describing paper trails created by touch-screen voting machines as "paper ballots." The fact is, such trails aren't ballots. They are simply records (perhaps accurate, perhaps not, there is no way for any voter to know for certain) of the voters' votes. They are not actually used in the tally of results on Election Night, and almost never thereafter either.

BRAD BLOG readers are likely well familiar by now with various, and, worse, misleading claims about the bill from Holt's office staffers themselves and People for the American Way (PFAW) in particular, the biggest lobbyist/proponent for the bill. Much of that is covered in articles on our Holt Bill Special Coverage page.

The latest entrant into the mislead sweepstakes is Pam Smith, President of Verified Voting. John points to her editorial today in the DVN, which begins this way...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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