Common Cause is one of the groups which currently supports the bill as is, and doesn't believe it's necessary to amend it to require a full ban on DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-screen) voting systems. As we've discussed here in some detail, a number of these large public advocacy groups, such as Common Cause, People for the American Way (PFAW), MoveOn, and VoteTrustUSA have been not only supporting the Holt bill, but using disingenuous and/or very weak and/or very naive talking points to back up their support for the bill.
Susannah used most of those talking points in our discussion/debate from last Friday. I take no particular joy in pointing this out, or the similar behavior of the other groups, or Holt's office themselves, in regard to all of this. I believe them to essentially be "good guys" on these matters, but on this point, they are dangerously and irresponsibly wrong, in my opinion. Heading into another Presidential Election, still using disenfranchising DRE systems is a recipe for potential disaster that America simply cannot afford after two previously questionable (putting it kindly) elections.
Here's a quick sampling of our discussion...
PBC: And Susannah, in an ideal world I imagine you’d support elimination of the DREs. But do you think that’s an achievable goal in the near term, either by ’08 or 2010?
GOODMAN: Well, I actually think it’s a bit of a red herring. I mean, I think that, as Brad was saying, you know, you could take 100% of those ballots and you still scan them through an optical scanner. That’s still electronic.
BRAD: No problem. That’s great.
GOODMAN: It’s - the counting piece of this is electronic and it’s, it will absolutely, 100%, there will be a time when it absolutely fails, because it’s a machine and machines break.
BRAD: Well, that’s right, but we’ll have a paper ballot that’s been marked by the voter that they’ll be able to then go back and check, by any means necessary. We will not have that with the touch-screen system. And I’d be interested in - Peter said that you assumed that she’d be, Susannah would be in favor of banning those DREs. I’d like to actually know where Common Cause and Susannah is – would you guys be in favor of a ban on touch-screen voting machines?
GOODMAN: I, that’s not where we are, and the reason is that, I really see this bill as, I mean, what you have in, for example in New Mexico, is there are people that can mark a ballot by hand, but there are people that cannot mark a ballot by hand, because they have a vision impairment, or they’re blind, or they don’t have use of their hands, and…