REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: 'Do we care less about our voting machines than our ATM machines?'
By John Gideon on 7/12/2006, 8:51am PT  

Last night, Tuesday, Kitty Pilgrim stood in for Lou Dobbs for "Democracy At Risk" on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Tonight's report (text transcript at bottom of this article) featured a discussion of the reliability of the voting machines used across the United States. Featured in tonights segment were John Washburn of VoteTrustUSA.Org, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, and EAC Commissioner Paul DeGregorio.

DeGregorio had this to say about the reliability standards:

We believe that it is very important that these guidelines and any kind of standards be improved all the time, and we're working on spending federal money to do that because we want voters to have trust and confidence in the voting process in America.

Even though the standards have not been changed since the 2002 standards went into affect and they have not been changed as of yet in the proposed standards that were signed into existence by the Elections Assistance Commission. There is no trust and confidence when elections officials can't even get their facts straight.


Video in Streaming Flash format...
Video in Windows Media format...

The complete text transcript follows…

LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Aired July 11, 2006

KITTY PILGRIM:...And most Americans will be casting ballots on electronic voting machines. But what happens when electronic voting machines fail? A special report on our democracy at risk.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PILGRIM: New fears about the integrity of our democracy tonight. Voter activists worry that standards for electronic voting machines breaking down are dangerously lax.

Now, federal officials say they're working on tighter standards, but those new standards may not be ready for years.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM (voice over): Electronic voting machines, fast, easy, but what happens when they break down or fail? Federal guidelines permit one failure every 163 hours, which means one out of every 11 machines may break down on Election Day.

Critics say that's not acceptable.

JOHN WASHBURN, VOTETRUSTUSA: The reliability quotient for the hardware is too high. It allows too many machines to fail in any given election day and also be down for too long during that given day.

PILGRIM: Congressman Jerrold Nadler says voting machines have a higher failure rate than ATM machines and VCRs.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: No machinery should be allowed to be purchased or used for voting that don't have a guaranteed mean time between failures of at least several thousand hours --- 70,000 would be good. That's what a VCR is. An ATM machine will go thousands of hours.

Do we care less about our voting machines than our ATM machines?

PILGRIM: The election assistance commissioner defends the current standards.

PAUL DEGREGORIO, CHAIRMAN, ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMM.: We believe that it is very important that these guidelines and any kind of standards be improved all the time, and we're working on spending federal money to do that because we want voters to have trust and confidence in the voting process in America.

PILGRIM: DeGregorio says a federal advisory board is currently examining options for tighter reliability guidelines, but it's not clear if those standards could be implemented in time for the 2008 election.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, federal law says machines may not have more than one error per 500,000 votes, but critics say that tough standard doesn't mean much if the machines fail altogether.